Curious Ear and curious ear...

book cover taking sidesNo, this post hasn't anything to do with Alice in Wonderland - I just couldn't resist the lame pun (I'm a tabloid sub-editor in an alternative life). The 'curious ear' I refer to is the RTE radio programme The Curious Ear, part of RTE radio's Documentary on One. The Curious Ear team were at the Central Library on Monday 10th October to record a visit by Irish children's author Brian Gallagher and his young readers and listeners. Brian has just published his second historical novel for young readers, 'Taking Sides' set in Dublin during the Civil War. The book is an exciting read, following the fortunes of a group of young friends, as they get caught up in a Civil War that tears families and a country apart.

Rathmines and Beyond: A Literary Heritage

Rathmines Library, front facadeDublin’s status as a literary city was recognised in 2010 by its designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Rathmines and its surrounding areas could make a convincing argument for being the most literary quarter of our literary city. Birthplace of James Joyce, born at a time when Rathmines’ image was solid, bourgeois and red-brick, the township changed over time, so that by the early 20th century it had become a positive hotbed of political activists and creative types. As the century progressed, its large houses were divided into separate units - "flatland" came into being, and Rathmines became the first stop for many young people moving from the countryside into Dublin. This trend was discontinued in the early 21st century, but throughout all these changes, the area remained home to a wide range of journalists and novelists, poets and playwrights, writers’ groups and reading clubs, with its fine library very much at the heart of this literary activity.

Right: The facade of Rathmines Public Library, opened on the 24th October, 1913.
(Architectural and other information about the building).  

Every book it's reader

Banned Books Week was on recently, a week in the US to highlight some of the books that are "challenged" and reasons for these challenges.  I thought about talking about reasons to ban a book.  After some thought, I actually couldn't think of any real reason to ban a book. Some books might irritate me or try my patience (don't get me started on Twilight!) but as an adult I have the choice.  I can choose to abandon a book mid-way through, and I have.  There aren't many and they really aren't books I'd recommend to anyone, but I know there are fans of those books and I'd hate to tell them they're wrong.

Rachel Allen's New Book 'Easy Meals'

Rachel Allen Easy MealsRachel Allen’s new cook book 'Easy Meals. Over 180 Delicious Recipes to get you Through your Life' is now available to borrow from Dublin City Public Libraries. Included in her new book are lots of quick and trouble-free recipes and plenty of great ideas such as her one pot recipes and recipes that have just five ingredients.

As always her book is full of colourful pictures and has lots of interesting and original combinations of ingredients for example Pork, Chorizo, Haricot Beans with Red Wine and Chickpea and Aubergine Salad.

Miss Otis Regrets

The very best of Cole Porter songbookTake the Otis elevator to the first floor of the Ilac Centre and enter the Central Library. Turn right at the library entrance and walk down to the Music Library where the music library staff will, on request, lure the oft regretful Miss Otis off the shelf, urging her to accept your invitation to repeat her melancholy tale of betrayal.

"Miss Otis Regrets" is a song by Cole Porter from the 1930s. Cole Porter is reputed to have said that he could write a song about anything even an elevator. The song is written in the blues style and tells the story of a woman who is jailed and hanged having shot her seducer after being jilted and abandoned.

Everyone remembers their last summer of Primary School

The Unforgotten Coat

A tear wells in my right eye, spills over and rolls slowly down my cheek. I can't help it. As it drips off my chin I sigh with satisfaction and close over the last page of 'The Unforgotten Coat' by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I read this book in one sitting, and I challenge anyone to put it down once begun. 'The Unforgotten Coat' was commissioned for the Reader's Organisation 'Our Read' programme in the United Kingdom and was inspired by a true story of refugees, immigration and deportation. 

The Danish Invasion

The KillingWhen the Vikings raiders first arrived in Ireland towards the end of the 8th century, they came from Norway rather than Denmark, the Danish Vikings preferring to plunder the English coastline. But in more recent times the Danes have made their mark here and elsewhere with a conquest of a different sort.

Reader-in-Residence Appointed!

Dublin City Public Libraries, in association with the Home School Community Liaison Scheme, has appointed Sarah Purcell as Reader-in-Residence. Sarah takes up her Residency this September for a nine-month period and will deliver a programme of activities designed to instil in young children an appreciation and love of reading which, at the same time, will give parents/guardians an awareness of the positive value of literacy, books and reading in their children’s development. The programme will include opportunities for parents and children to explore and enjoy reading and other literacy activities together.

A Great Night Out!

WastersDublin is famous for many things, not least its nightlife. While many people imagine that Dublin’s international profile as a night spot only began with the establishment of Temple Bar, this selection of images from the Special Collections of Dublin City Public Libraries demonstrates that the fun didn’t start then. Fairs and taverns provided venues for entertainment from the Middle Ages and in the eighteenth century Coffee Houses were dens of political dissent and gossip. During that same century the theatres often saw more action in the pit than on the stage, or if throwing oranges at the actors was not to your taste you could while away the evening with a trip to a Charity Sermon. During the nineteenth century thrilling melodrama and wild vaudeville graced the Dublin stage and organisations such as the YMCA hosted lectures on the new advances in science. Going to “the pictures” became an important part of a Dublin night out in the twentieth century, but the city also played host to international luminaries such as Laurel and Hardy and The Beatles. And in the Dublin of the early 1980s you could get to a U2 concert for just £1.20!

A Visitor's Guide to Dublin in 1811

National Bank, Image from Picture of Dublin for 1811. Dublin City Public Libraries plans to digitise some of its early books and manuscripts, in order to bring the history of the city before a wider public. Many of the proposed works are hard to find and are very expensive to buy.